Kanazawa, Japan’s El Dorado

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As a content creator, one of my goals for 2018 is to see more of Japan. My recent visit to Kanazawa allowed me to do just that. Here’s a recap of my journey with the monster in tow.

Background

3 hours away from Tokyo (via the  Hokuriku Shinkansen) is Japan’s “little Kyoto,” Kanazawa, on the coast of Ishikawa Prefecture.

READ: 12 Tips & Tricks For Exploring Japan With A Baby

Because it escaped the firebombing of World War II, Kanazawa has entire districts of perfectly-preserved 17th-century Edo-era architecture. During your stay in Kanazawa, experience traditional Japanese arts like…

Wajimanuri (輪島塗) lacquerware,

kagayuzen (加賀友禅) textiles and kimono,

kutaniyaki (九谷焼) porcelain, blah blah blah

Enough of the travel book fluff. Let’s get to the heart of Kanazawa!

Japan’s El Dorado

Kanazawa might be Japan’s “little Kyoto,” But I prefer to call it Japan’s El Dorado.

Why?

Shops all over Kanazawa sell a variety of products that contain gold leaf (金箔/kinpaku), like handicrafts, cosmetics, food, and drink:

Selection of gold leaf cosmetics and skin care items
Golden senbei (rice crackers)

In fact, Kanazawa produces 99% of Japan’s gold leaf, so there are plenty of items heavily featuring gold leaf that you can’t find anywhere else.

From gifts for under 500 yen to pens costing millions of yen, there’s a shop somewhere in Kanazawa selling it.

The Quest For The Golden Ice Cream Cone 

Kanazawa is right on the Sea of Japan meaning it’s a paradise for seafood lovers — and absolute hell if you have seafood allergies. 

Nearly every stall at Omicho Market sells crabs and other sea creatures…

There’s more than fish in Kanazawa. If you read my tweets, you know I have a serious sweet tooth. 

I was on a mission to eat this:

 

READ:  A Mini Guide To Japan's Seasonal Drink And Snack Ingredients

Mission accomplished

Left: Sweet potato and gold leaf ice cream cone at Kanazawa Statiion; Right: Vanilla and gold leaf ice cream cone at Hakuchi in Higashi Chayagai

Bonus Golden Treat:

Ice cream that does not melt (seriously)

READ: Kanazawa is Japan’s Best Spot to Eat Gold Sushi, Gold Ice Cream and More

What To Eat In Kanazawa 

Noto pork katsudon (deep fried pork cutlet from pigs raised in Ishikawa Prefecture’s Noto Pennisula)
Crisp potato chips made from Kanazawa’s famous home grown sweet potatoes
Hyakkuman is the colorful tourism mascot of Kanazawa. He even has his own bread!
Pancakes made with Houjicha tea leaves

What To See And Do In Kanazawa

The iconic Taiko drum inspired gate at Kanazawa Station
Kanazawa Castle
Plum blossoms in bloom at Kenrokuen Gardens
Ishiura Shrine, Kanazawa’s oldest
Oyama Shrine
Higashi Chayagai, one of Kawazawa’s perfectly preserved tea house districts
The quiet banks of the Asanogawa River

Getting To Kanazawa And Where To Stay

I booked a 3-day, 2-night stay and shinkansen round trip ticket for under 35,000 yen. I also got a 1-day use bus pass thanks to an amazing deal found on the website for Nippon Travel Agency

Included in our package was a stay at Hotel Mystays Kanazawa Castle, a newly renovated hotel just minutes from Kanazawa Station.

Hotel Mystays Kanazawa Castle
Twin Room at Hotel Mystays Kanzawa Castle

The hotel also has an onsen but, kids in diapers are not allowed to use it, so no onsen relaxation for me. The temperatures dipped right before our Kanazawa trip, and there’s just something about a hot outdoor bath when it’s freezing.

I had a fantastic time in Kanazawa…but travel always turns into an adventure when you have awesome buddies by your side!

See you next time, Kanazawa!

Kanazawa, Japan’s El Dorado

 


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